NASA looks to fund rapid test and demonstrations of commercial space technologies

March 3, 2023
Emphasis will be placed on decreasing the amount of time between award and flight testing with a goal of increasing the pace of technology development.

WASHINGTON - The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced it intends to solicit involvement from the commercial space technology industry as the agency looks to fund the rapid testing or demonstration of tech in relevant environments.

Payloads may be tested aboard flights on U.S. commercial suborbital rockets, rocket-powered lander vehicles, high-altitude balloons, aircraft following reduced-gravity flight profiles, and orbital platforms. Emphasis will be placed on decreasing the amount of time between award and flight testing with a goal of increasing the pace of technology development.

NASA says this anticipated solicitation is titled Technology Advancement Utilizing Suborbital and Orbital Flight Opportunities “TechFlights”, and is an appendix to the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) umbrella NASA Research Announcement (NRA) titled "Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion 2023 (SpaceTech-REDDI-2023), on or about 7 April 2023.

STMD’s Flight Opportunities program rapidly demonstrates promising technologies for space exploration, discovery, and the expansion of space commerce through suborbital testing with industry flight providers. The program matures capabilities needed for NASA missions and commercial applications while strategically investing in the growth of the U.S. commercial spaceflight industry.

Two topics are anticipated for this solicitation. The first addresses demonstration of capabilities that support global lunar utilization leading to commercial commodities and services for a robust lunar economy and/or demonstration of technologies for low-Earth orbit (LEO) to geosynchronous Earth orbit (GEO) that support additional future services for a growing LEO/GEO economy.

 Topic 2 addresses technologies that can support the Commercially Enabled Rapid Space Science (CERRIS) initiative, which aims to develop transformative research capabilities with the commercial space industry to dramatically increase the pace of research. Long-range goals include conducting scientist astronaut missions on the International Space Station and commercial LEO destinations and developing automated hardware for experiments beyond low-Earth orbit, such as on the lunar surface.

All proposals must be submitted electronically through NSPIRES by an Authorized Organizational Representative (AOR). A Mandatory Preliminary Proposal is anticipated to be due on May 12, 2023, at 5:00 pm ET with Full Proposals (by invitation only) anticipated to be due on or before September 11, 2023, at 5:00 pm ET. Note that the submission of a Mandatory Preliminary Proposal is a prerequisite to be invited to submit a Full Proposal.

The solicitation is available by opening the STMD homepage at and selecting “Open” under Solicitations. Enter the title or solicitation number in the Solicitation # / Key Information field, and then select “Technology Advancement Utilizing Suborbital and Orbital Flight Opportunities “TechFlights”

Technical and programmatic comments and questions may be addressed by e-mail to the Program Executive for the Flight Opportunities and Small Spacecraft Technology programs, Christopher Baker, at [email protected]. Responses to inquiries will be answered by e-mail and may also be included in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) documents located on the NSPIRES page associated with the solicitation. Anonymity of persons/institutions who submit questions will be preserved.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Military Aerospace, create an account today!